The old European folk story, Stone Soup, tells the story of a stranger who enters a town and convinces the villagers to all contribute a small amount of their food to make a meal they could all enjoy. The moral of the story is that by working together and contributing what you can, a greater good can be achieved. Stone Soup Food Bank of Lapeer operates under the same morals this folklore reinforces, which is how it got it’s name.
Mary MacLeod, the business development director at Stone Soup Food Bank of Lapeer, said through volunteers, program, fundraisers and donations, the food bank is able to serve around a million pounds of food a year.
“We have partnered up with farmers across the community to raise livestock for us and provide us with produce,” MacLeod said. “We receive 500 boxes of produce every week from the Farm to Fork program and by Friday it’s almost gone.”
After Stone Soup Food Bank of Lapeer receives the produce, it is then distributed to food banks in and around Lapeer County.
“We serve over 60 agencies, churches and other organizations,” MacLeod said. “The Wheels of Sharing program is our delivery service that distributes the goods out to their food pantries.”
Deborah Cline, a volunteer at a food bank through Lapeer County St. Paul Lutheran Church, said she is app that Stone Soup Food Bank of Lapeer makes it possible for produce to be available at their her church’s food bank.
“It’s nice to offer people who come fresh produce because a lot of the dietary staples we offer are carbs,” Cline said.
Ray Ecker, a volunteer at a food bank through the Country Christian Church, said the the Stone Food Bank helps his church’s food bank save money.
“Anything that they get for free, like bread and produce, they give to for free as well,” Ecker said. “Those two foods are highly desired by the people that come to our pantry and it saves us a lot of money by not having to buy it.”
Another thing that is distributed along with bread and produce is the verbal recognition of what Stone Soup does for the community in hopes that it’ll bring in more people to lend a hand.
“We always mention Stone Soup to people who come because it’s important for them to know who is helping them during their hardship,” Ecker said. “I hope maybe one day they will want to volunteer themselves.”
The final step of the distribution process is that when the produce or bread goes bad, it’s given away to farm animals who can still enjoy it.
“The Farm to Fork livestock get to have the supplies that we can no longer use,” MacLeod said. “I have to assume those pigs and cows are eating pretty good.”